Yoga Everyday with Man Flow Yoga

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Introduction

There is no doubt doing yoga everyday has many benefits. However establishing a regular yoga practice can be a difficult task. Man Flow Yoga understands this so Dean Pohlman creates challenges to help you develop your yoga practice. I decided to accept one of his latest challenges, 21x30 Challenge. The goal of this challenge is to see what 30 minutes of yoga every day for 21 days can do for your fitness, your overall health, and even your mental well-being.  

The Challenge

Simply, complete one workout, averaging 30 minutes, every day for 21 days. 

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Challenge details

At the end of 21 days, you can expect:

  • Increased strength, mobility, and endurance
  • Improved balance, body awareness, and postural awareness
  • Improvements in your other physical activities (running, weight lifting, etc)
  • Decreased stress, improved sleep, improved mood, and increased energy

Workout Selection

Dean selected 21 of his favourite and recently released workouts from the Man Flow Yoga Workout Library. They offer a variety of challenges focused on strengthening your entire body, including:

  • Core & Spine
  • Upper Back & Shoulders
  • Hips, Glutes & Thighs
  • Knees & Ankles
  • Side Body

The challenge starts with beginner-friendly workouts. They are informative with lots of instruction on alignment, form and posture. Even if yoga is not new to you, they should still be challenging, fun, and effective. After that you will progress to his more advanced workouts as you near the end of the challenge.

Who’s it for?

ALL yoga skill levels, fitness experiences, and all types of people. Whatever your main workouts or physical goals are - the challenge will help you get stronger, move better, and feel better. Everyday you’ll receive an email with details on the workout of the day and how it will help you get stronger. Additionally there is also a motivational message to inspire you to complete the workout that day.

Workout Tips

  • Miss a workout? Don’t worry. Double up the next day (one in the morning, one in the evening) or skip it. But don’t do 3 in one day. 
  • Got other workouts to do? Good! Keep doing them. Do them at the opposite time of day you’re doing Man Flow Yoga. (Ex: Man Flow Yoga in the morning, weight training in the evening.)
  • Best Practice: Do the workouts at the same every day. Pick a time, stick with it, and make it a non-negotiable priority.

Sharing is caring

You can post about your experience with the challenge daily in the Man Flow Yoga Community on Facebook. Or leave a comment on the challenge page on the Man Flow Yoga website.

The Challenge Diary

I decided to record the daily workouts of the challenge in a diary. Each day I detail what each workout consisted, length and what level of intensity they are. In addition, there are details of the purpose of each workout and what areas of the body its focused on. Moreover, I discussed some of the poses and exercises, tips from Dean and how the workout challenged me physically. 

Day 1 - Full-Body AM Workout

Today’s workout is 27 minutes in length. Its designed to hit every muscle in your body and provide an awesome start to the day. Its targets tight areas of your body and works on balance to increase your energy. This is a very active first session which starts with a few standing balancing poses. These types of exercise awaken dormant muscles and focus the mind. As a result, halfway through the workout I was feeling more energised. My tight areas are hamstrings and hips and they loosened up a lot. The workout finished with Lizard and Pigeon poses. They are dynamic and Dean demonstrated alternatives to go deeper into the stretches. 

Day 2 - Strength, Endurance, and Muscle Activation for Hips, Core and Side Body

This 30 minute workout is from the Manflowyoga strength foundations course. It focuses on hip and side engagement and applying them to full body yoga postures. In addition, it draws attention to your hips and torso, strengthening and improving their mobility. The benefits are not only improved balancing. Equally, it reduces back pain or discomfort, and helps prevent further injury. This workout begins with a few muscle activation exercises. Importantly, these turn on and strengthen major muscles in your hips and core. It then moves on to more full body exercises.

It is a challenging second session even though it’s a beginners routine. I found the leg raises at start quite intense and side planks will hurt if you haven’t done them for a while. Dean provides excellent explanations on the importance of muscle activation. Additionally there are detailed instructions on how to setup for lunge, warrior one and chair poses. 

Day 3 - Active Hamstring Mobility & Engagement for Forward Folds

This is another workout from the strength foundation course. Its focuses on improving active hamstring mobility and teaching proper hip and core muscle engagement in forward folds. Injuries from forwards folds are common in yoga studios. They are difficult for lots of people as they require a lot of muscle activation. Consequently, if you do yoga regularly, I think this session will change your views on forward folds. Dean explains the importance of making forward folds active rather than a passive stretch. This requires active mobility and muscle engagement and attention to detail. Additionally you will also focus on the alignment of your back when doing forward folds which will help correct posture and imbalances. If you have tight hamstrings you should make sure you have a block or two available. Dean also recommends you use a mirror or record yourself so you know what your body looks like in the postures. Very useful! 

Day 4 - Movement Essentials (Spine, Core, & Hips)

Part of the Movement Essentials series, this is a more basic workout than the previous three days. Consequently, this could have been the Day 1 workout as it focuses on essential yoga elements like posture and injury prevention. Furthermore it is also suitable for people getting back into fitness or recovering from injury or seniors. Dean spends quite a bit of time explaining the correct setup for mountain pose and lunges. Although this can be a boring for more seasoned practitioners, it is always good to strip the most popular poses back to their basics. 

Day 5 - Hip Flexibility & Mobility for Bulletproof Knees

A comprehensive lower body workout that focuses on the hips mobility and flexibility for injury prevention. Attention is given to improving mobility for healthier, stronger, more injury-resistant knees. It targets your inner thighs (abductors), outer thighs, hamstrings, hip flexors, quads and gluteus. It is a challenging forty minute workout, therefore I wouldn’t recommend it on or straight after legs day! The squat walks at the beginning really sets the pace of what to expect. Dean is determined to push you to work deeper and push past your comfort levels, all the while remaining in control of your body.

Day 6 - Hamstring Mobility & Core Strength for Downdogs

This workout is from the Manflowyoga Strength Foundations course. It may be the most well known yoga pose, Downdog (full name “downward facing dog”) is actually quite hard to do correctly. Ultimately you need to use core strength, hamstring mobility and upper body strength to do it. In this session, Dean uses a light resistance theraband to warm up the muscles in the hamstrings and hips. He then explains the importance of the L shape in downdog before demonstrating the correct form and posture for it. Significantly, there is a lot of core work in the workout that will help improve your down dog. To replicate doing downdog correctly, we buildup to by doing half lifts, downdog on the wall and staff pose. Specifically, they help you practice downdog by creating the L shape with your body. By the end of this workout you should be able to do downdog with all the proper engagement.

Day 7 - Strong Backbends: Full Body Engagement in Spinal Extension

A challenging 30 plus minutes that covers all the key elements and poses for stronger backbends. The warm-up again is muscle activation using a theraband (I would recommend getting this prop). Henceforth, the main focus of the workout is backbends with full body engagement. This is important as it means you are strengthening your spine without risking injury. It also stops the pinching that many people experience when doing backbends. The poses covered are baby and full cobra, lunges with backbends, standing backbends, locust and sphinx. Definitely doing this workout I realised how much more I can do in my backbends.

Day 8 - Yoga to Build Lean Lower Body Muscle Mass

I can confidently say this is one of the most challenging lower body workouts I have done for a long time. Consequently it was also super enjoyable as there is so much variety in it. It starts with muscle activation through core exercises and balance poses. Henceforth there are more intense poses and stretches aimed at deepening your range of motion. Predominantly focusing on form and correct posture. The final third of the workout is endurance and strength which really fires up the lower body. If you like or want to improve your squats this is the session you should do on a regular basis…that’s if you are up for it!

Day 9 - Core Strength for Bulletproof Knees

This is a fun workout that has lots of variety. There is a heavy focus on strengthening the core to prevent knee and soft-tissue injuries. Having a stronger core will allow you to put more of your bodyweight into your hips. When you lack core strength you tend to lean forward rather than back. Consequently that puts a lot more pressure on your knees when you are doing lunges and squats. The session consists of warm exercises for the core, planks and balances. It then progresses to many other poses that provide a great lower-body and core focused workout.

Day 10 - Ankle Strength, Stability & Mobility for Bulletproof Knees

A very technical workout today which is engaging and informative. It contains a lot of balance, mobility and stability exercises, pushing the boundaries of the lower body mobility. There is a lot of focus on your ankles, calves and toes which most people don’t workout as much as other parts of their body. Ultimately, the advantages of strengthening these areas is that it prevents ankle injuries. Additionally improved mobility, stability and strength in the ankles also lessens the chances of soft-tissue injuries like MCL, ACL, or meniscus injuries. The session is a slower than many of the previous workouts as the focus is on precise engagement and technique. In any event it is still challenging and you may find many poses more uncomfortable as your body will not be used to them.

Day 11 - Hip Strength for Bulletproof Knees

in this 35 minute session, Dean focuses on four muscle groups; gluten, hip abductors, hip flexors and quads. Explicitly strengthening these muscle groups puts less strain on your knees and avoid injuries. This is critical in improving engagement and strength in the hips and increasing mobility. The workout begins with some hip activation exercises that are very effective. Donkey kicks engage the glutes and loosen up the hamstrings which you don’t use that much in daily life. These are followed by alternative leg raises from boat, keeping you back as flat as possible and lifting the hips up. In this pose your isolate the hips and turn them on. Ultimately the workout progresses and becomes more dynamic with lots of different lunges and squats. They are quite challenging as they are done slowly, breathing deeply to get the maximum engagement in the hips.

Day 12 - The Clark Workouts – Part 3

Today’s workout is from the Clark workout series. These workouts are specifically designed to give you all of the results of a fitness-centric yoga program in just about 30 minutes per day. Essentially, this program is everything yoga does to ensure your body stays healthy, strong, and mobile. This session is focused on stretching out everything that gets tight in the day. Accordingly it targets your hips, spine, back, and upper-body to build strength in all the right places. It is not as intensive as some of the previous day’s workouts but it is a good all rounder and you feel great in less than 30 minutes. It starts by warming up with child pose stretch and cat-cow and bird dogs. Chiefly these poses are very effective at activating, loosening and stretching most parts of the body. The remainder of the workout contains more active poses, so expect downward dog, lunges, squats, side angle and warrior 2 movements.

Day 13 - Dynamic Balance Workout

This workout is designed to help improve your balance, prevent injury and improve your balance in transitions. Correspondingly the session is split into two phases. The first phase of the workout involves going through most of the balance poses in yoga. Additionally It will contain poses such as lunges that can be used to transition from one balance to the next. In the second phase we connect the balance and transition poses in randomised sequences. Equally the sequences can contain 1 or 2 poses or be more complex with 4 or 5 poses. The purpose of phase two is to challenge your balance by keeping you guessing on what is coming next. This will help you build more strength in you lower body for injury prevention. In fact it is a real fun workout as incorporates poses like airplane, eagle, half moon standing bow and standing march hold. This workout is part of the Bulletproof Your Knees Series. It is suitable for beginners and will definitely challenge you!

Day 14 - The Clark Workouts – Part 5

Another workout from the Clark workout series. Uniquely it contains a lot of full body and isometric holds that are strength focused. Moreover the purpose of the workout is to build muscle, improve mobility and strength. There are more upper-body poses than in other workouts but you should still feel some burn in the core and lower body. Comparatively this is an intermediate level workout with the intensity being 3 out of 5. It starts with a few stretches to warm up and activate the whole body. Most of them are ones you have done a few times already while doing this challenge so you may notice that your body is now more responsive. Conversely you may notice that you have more range in some of the poses and this is the main benefit of doing yoga on a regular basis. This workout is great if you are pressed for time but want the benefits of a longer workout. It covers all the essential poses that provide an excellent all body workout.

Day 15 - Muscle Building Isometrics for Glutes, Hips, Thighs, & Core

This workout is only 25 minutes in length at the same time it's quite intense. It features essential full body yoga poses to build build strength and muscle in your lower-body. Again there is a strong focus on poses that build core and hip strength. Ultimately the intensity in the workout comes from holding the poses longer than in previous workout. You can expect to hold all the poses in this workout for at least one minute. There is also less instruction from Dean in this workout but all the poses are ones you should be familiar with. Most of the instruction he does provide is about your breathing which is very valuable. Particularly deep controlled breathing through your nose will help you when holding poses for a long time. The poses covered are bridge, high lunge, pigeon, squat, standing balance, warrior 2 and wide leg forward folds.

Day 16 - Full Body Strength & Recovery Flow

Today's workout was a dynamic flow yoga sequence that builds strength and also aids in recovery. It is 25 minutes in duration so can be used as a training workout or in a recovery session. The poses in the sequence target the back and shoulders, hips, spine and core. Additionally the intensity is medium to hard and will help in reducing any soreness in your shoulders or stiffness in the back. The poses in this workout are boat, child’s pose, cat-cow, cobra, downward and upward facing dog, lizard, plank and side plank, side angle, squat and warrior 2! In conclusion this is a flow sequence that is very dynamic in nature and when finished you will feel very satisfied!

Day 17 - Advanced Hip Flexor Workout for Strength & Flexibility

This workout is an advanced one from Manflowyoga, so expect to get a bit sweaty! This hip flexor workout will strengthen and improve the flexibility of your psoas muscle. Hip flexors connect your upper body to your lower body and determine your range of motion in raising your legs or lunge depth. Therefore the workout focuses on developing strength in the hip flexors to get the maximum range of motion in them. It involves the use of your full body, including core strength, lower-body endurance, balance. On the whole doing this workout regularly will significantly increase the strength of your hips and core. This especially important for advanced single-leg exercises like pistol squats and other one-leg squats. This will also help with sprinting, jumping, and normal squats. Most of the poses in this workout have been covered in previous but the intensity has been increased. The only new pose is the final one which is a couch stretch or lizard reach back stretch.

Day 18 - The Full Body Works

The tough workouts keep on coming! Today's is a 30 minute full body workout to build balance, endurance, mobility and strength. Ultimately the goal is to work all areas of your body including hips, shoulders, core, and chest. The sequence is dynamic featuring twists, bends, openings, lunges, and squats. Accordingly there are no breaks, so you will be working hard throughout! The workout finishes with pigeon pose with an extra challenge of incorporating a quadricep stretch! To summarize this is a workout you should do regularly if you want to get stronger, build endurance and improve balance and mobility.

Day 19 - 32 Minute Slow Flow for Hips, Core, & Back

This workout has minimal instructions allowing you to focus without too many distractions. By now you should also know all the names of the poses and feel comfortable with your alignment in them. This workout has a fantastic flow and rhythm, you move from one pose to the next one very easily. It will challenge your endurance and improve your mobility. The workout focus on the core, hips and spine but it is a really a full body workout. The exercises target hamstrings, adductors, hip flexors, glutes, core, spine and back. However being a slow flow it allows for more time to make adjustments and work deeper into the poses. I really noticed the impact of doing yoga regularly in this workout. I felt very comfortable holding poses like chair and upward dog for longer with relaxed breathing. Consequently my squats and warrior poses are going a lot deeper. It is a great workout to keep coming back to, to track your progress.

Day 20 - Abs for Inversions

Today's workout is another tough one! The purpose of this workout is to build strength in your core for advanced arm inversions like handstand, crow pose, and forearm stand. The standard of the core exercises is very high and it is non-stop. Therefore you should find it quite challenging and the intensity high. Ultimately I found the workout extra tough as the core exercises focus on the lower abdominal area. Overall this helps in strengthening the pelvic floor which will provide stability when you get in inversion positions. So when you do a handstand your legs will not wobble back and forth and you have more control. 

The workout starts with some movements to activate the core. Included were hands to thighs, reverse crunches and supine bicycles. These movements are great at getting your abs, hips flexors and pelvic floor as warm as possible. It then progresses to more intensive core exercises including alternating leg levers and raises. Next we move on to some standing balances before more ground core exercises. These include planks, downdogs, boat, full and half locust poses. Finally it finishes with L-sits which you should do with yoga blocks as they are super challenging! Although it is less than 25 mins in length, it was a real struggle to complete the workout. But I saved it straight away and aim to do it regularly to improve my core and hip strength.

Day 21 - Intense Slow Flow for Mindful Strength

An intense workout to end the 21 days of 30 minute yoga challenge. It is a 37-minute full body slow flow focused on building strength and working deeper into your mobility. This is an intermediate to advanced workout that will hit all the areas we have been training for the past 3 weeks. There is also minimal instruction however Dean does point out some finer technique details. The exercises targets the core, hips, lower and upper body and the shoulders. Furthermore it is a flow routine that has a strong fitness focus working on endurance and strength. It starts standing and stays active throughout so no breaks and no child’s pose in this workout! You will build up a nice sweat, challenge yourself strength-wise, and feel great afterwards. Finally there are some great combinations of balance and twists that should take you out of your comfort zone. 

Conclusion and next steps

I completed the challenge in 25 days and the most days I did yoga consecutively was 12 days. Overall I really enjoyed this challenge and achieved the expected improvements and outcomes. Furthermore the variety of the workouts resulted in full body exercise throughout the challenge. Even though I am quite an experienced yogi, I found the workouts fun, challenging and extremely effective. One of the few disadvantages doing online yoga is that you have to keep looking at the video to check you are doing the correct poses. Practicing on consecutive days improves your knowledge of the poses, consequently your progress is more fluid as you don’t need to check the video so often. Other Man Flow Yoga members appear to have enjoyed it as there were plenty of comments on the challenge page on the website and the Facebook community.

Completing this challenge has reminded of why Man Flow Yoga is a great platform to do yoga and stay fit and healthy. It believes that getting and staying in shape should be a simple process. By doing the right exercises and investing 20 to 30 minutes every other day you will see great results. If your goal is to stay healthy, injury-free and mobile, MFY workouts are exactly what you need. Man Flow Yoga is full of great content. The Workout Library currently has more than 200 videos over twenty minutes in length. It allows you to do workouts with different skill levels and target different areas of the body. You can also select workout to target a particular fitness focus or intensity level. Membership offers great value with the most costly membership being cheaper than the cost of a single yoga class!

Functional Training Blueprint

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Do you have a friend who you think is fit and healthy? Who is capable of astounding displays of strength? But then they strain their back when getting out of bed or trying to open a jar of pickles! Worse yet, have you lived through that story yourself? If it is you should consider incorporating functional training into your exercise routine.

It’s easy to get buried in the avalanche of exercise terms that float around the fitness scene. Whether it’s at your local gym or researching online, the information can be overwhelming. Recently, one of the terms that have started to receive a fair amount of attention is functional training. So what exactly is functional training and how can you benefit by including it into your fitness routine? I plan to answer that question in detail here and explain how it can provide sustainable health and fitness.

What is Functional Training?

There is some confusion about what functional training is. Most of it is centred on the easy, yet incorrect association with the idea of functional strength. People who incorporate functional training into their regiment often do acquire functional strength. Functional strength, however, is a broader idea that can be applied to almost any form of utilisable strength. What sets functional training apart from targeted athletic training, is the history and application. 

Functional training prepares the body to better withstand the strains of every-day life. From walking around with a tired two-year-old in your arms to moving a sofa to a new apartment. Functional training helps to keep you performing at your best in daily life. It aims to protect your body from harm, but its usefulness as a training regimen extends far beyond that.

Physical Therapy

Functional Training has its roots in physical therapy. It can help rehabilitate injured patients and strengthen the body’s core to create a stable platform for recovery. Over time, practitioners found that the same exercises that were useful to regain strength and mobility. It's also useful in preventing injury and maintaining the fitness of everyday people. It does this by emphasising movement over muscle and unilateral movement.

Movement over Muscle

Emphasising movement over muscle is the strategy of building functional strength through the full range of motion. This approach makes the body more adaptable to diverse situations and better protected from the demands of life. Powerlifters tend to build strength in a limited range of motion. This strength is limited in utility. Functional training seeks to strengthen and maintain the body through the full range of motion. This will protect your body and keep you youthful. Functional training practitioners might not be as powerful as bodybuilders, but they will be able to apply their strength in a broader range of situations.

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Unilateral Movement

Unilateral movement is deliberately isolating a muscle movement to a single muscle group or side of the body. It’s important for functional training because this is where the most strain and damage occurs in daily life. As you’re pulling or lifting with one side of the body while the other side of the body is occupied, it’s easy to injure yourself. A recent study shows that unilateral movement strengthens both sides of the body. By focusing on both mobility and unilateral movement, functional training protects the body through the widest range of activities.

What are the Benefits of Functional Training?

You can benefit from functional training which can help to protect your body from damage. Functional training prepares you from unexpected strain or the normal debilitating effects of ageing or misuse of your body. As a culture, we are more sedentary than ever. The normal activities of life used to fulfil the role that exercise must fulfil today. If we want to keep our mobility as we age and protect our physical longevity and independence, we have to make it a priority. 

The Benefits for Everyone

As comical as it is, the thought of pulling a muscle while opening a jar of pickles isn’t just a funny joke. Sometimes it’s the most mundane activities that can introduce an injury into our lives. These injuries can make every other activity painful. Functional training can help you cut your risk of every-day injuries.

The focus on unilateral movements helps functional training practitioners concentrate on strengthening a muscle group. They do this while expanding through the entire range of motion. Consequently, functional training can help you become more flexible as your strength increases. Many forms of strength training negatively impact your flexibility. This is because they focusing on building power in a limited range of motion. This is great for building explosive power within that limited range, but it can be easy to injure yourself if you extend beyond it.

Functional training can also help to improve your posture. This can greatly improve your comfort through every challenge through the day. That small change alone can have a cumulative effect on your health. 

The Benefits for Focused Athletes

Functional training can serve as an excellent way to create a sound foundation to work toward sport-specific goals. It can do this by targeting neglected areas of your body which you might not exercise during focused training. This is true particularly for non-professionals who lack a dedicated strength coach. While focused exercises that mimic the movement you will use in your sport will help you excel in competition the most, they can also leave you weak in other areas.

Additionally, functional training can help you to improve your balance and coordination. It also helps reduce joint pain that might interfere with your training. Studies show a 30% reduction in hip pain in recovering patients from utilising this type of exercise. 

What is the History of Functional Training?

Functional training has a unique history that makes it especially suited for avoiding injury and maintaining mobility and longevity. Once you are familiar with the basic theory and practices of functional training, it’s not surprising to learn that it has its roots in physical therapy. After World War I, many veterans returned home wounded with debilitating disabilities. Some had been robbed of everyday comforts that we take for granted. For many, sitting, standing or even basic motion became painful and difficult. To help these wounded veterans regain some measure of comfort and independence, a new science began to emerge after an act of Congress. 

In 1917, shortly after declaring war on Germany, the United States Congress passed the War Risk Insurance Act. This act specified that all disabled soldiers would receive rehabilitation after returning home from duty. It was the first bill of its kind. The Army Medical Department acknowledged that rehabilitation therapy would be a fundamental part of its health care policy from then on. This was in part to care for the veterans, and in part to avoid costly disability fees that had plagued the U.S. since the civil war. This act marked the birth of rehabilitative medicine. 

Therapist uptake

The technologies developed in this period were soon applied to injured people of all backgrounds. Physical therapists, occupational therapists and other mobility specialists applied these techniques to their patient care. It wasn’t long before these therapies made their way to health-conscious people looking for a way to benefit from the restorative exercises. They discovered that functional training could improve their general health and prevent the debilitating effects of old age.

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What types of exercise are functional?

People often confuse functional exercise with exercise that has a specific purpose. All forms of exercise accomplish a goal and have a purpose. Functional training focuses on rebuilding, maintaining or enhancing the normal function of the body as you work in your day-to-day life. Functional training is built around strengthening the body to manage various tasks. These range from lifting a small amount of weight and carrying it through a range of motions. It will strengthen joints through a full range of motion and bending or stretching the body. Most functional training falls into one of two main categories: low-intensity and high-intensity training.

Low-Intensity Training

Low-intensity functional exercise is the most similar in scope to functional training origins as physical therapy. It is used primarily by seniors and by people who are recovering from injuries. They will either have limited mobility or independence in movement.

Examples of low-intensity functional exercises include one-legged lunges, standing thoracic openers, one-legged dumbbell rows, unweighted squats, side lunges and planks. Any exercise which emphasises movement through a muscle group’s entire range of motion can be used for functional training. Low-intensity versions emphasise bodyweight exercises over weighted exercises. The concentration on slow, deliberate movements over quick jerky movements is important. They create a low impact routine. This will help to preserve movement while engaging the relevant muscle groups. 

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High-Intensity Training

High-intensity functional training exercises are used primarily by healthy people. It enables them to maximise the utility of their body during day-to-day life. They are also used by recovering patients who are nearing the end of their therapy and are looking for ways to prevent future injury. Athletes use functional training to complete their routines and strengthen weaker muscle groups missed in sport specific training. It can also help athletes prevent injury and rehabilitation.

Examples of high-intensity functional workouts include modified versions of the low-intensity exercises. They are modified by adding additional weight and increased repetitions. Additional movements include kettlebell snatches, kettlebell get-ups, stability ball exercises, battling rope waves, bear crawls and others. Natural movements are still emphasised, but movements are usually augmented with additional weight and an increased focus on maximising the full range of motion. 

What is Functional Training equipment?

In recent years, a broad range of functional training equipment has evolved to support the activity. Functional training equipment is designed to emphasise the natural movement of muscle groups through their full range of motion. You’ll see a lot of equipment used in other forms of exercise that are utilised in unique ways by advocates of functional training.

Stability and Bosu balls

Stability and Bosu balls are an important part of functional training since they are excellent for strengthening the core and stabiliser muscles. Having a weak core and stabiliser muscles is a common cause of injury in day-to-day life. Sitting, leaning, lying or kneeling on stability balls while doing other exercises activates your stabiliser muscles and strengthens your core.

Medicine balls

Medicine balls are used to simulate the awkward weight we must often manage in our daily lives. They also help to build core strength. Same-side and alternating rotational, overhead, kneeling throws and Russian twists are all functional training exercises that incorporate medicine balls.

Dumbbells and Kettlebells

The key to using dumbbells or kettlebells in functional training is focusing on the movement rather than gaining strength or power. High pulls, rows, squat and presses, snatches, sumo dead-lifts and lunge and presses are all examples of functional training utilising dumbbells and kettlebells.

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Battling Ropes

What are standing and sitting hip tosses, alternating waves, swirls, jumping jacks, power slams and ski steps? They are all excellent functional training exercises done with battling ropes. There is a strong emphasis on full motion through the arms while building strength in the core.

Sleds

In functional training, sleds are used to build strength in the legs, shoulders, core and back. It is a versatile piece of equipment that produces excellent results. You can use it to mimic the mechanics of running without negatively impacting the lower body. In fact, a lot of people who might not otherwise be able to run can obtain great results. You can train in a large variety of movements. Sleds can be pushed, pulled or dragged in dynamic and fluid ways to develop power and strength.

Rowing machines

Rowing machines are used in functional training to target the lower back, core, shoulders and legs for mobility, extension and stability. Besides traditional rows and shrugs, you can focus on one-legged and one-armed variations. These types of exercise can help you obtain a fuller range of motion.

Foam Rollers

Foam rollers are cylindrical rolls of hard foam. They are used in functional training to limit a range of motion or to help elongate a motion, depending on the needs of the individual. For recovering individuals, foam rollers provide extra support to prevent re-injury during therapy.

What are the drawbacks of functional training?

Every fitness philosophy has its benefits and its drawbacks. The same is true for functional training. With its origins in physical therapy, functional training is great for making recovery more comfortable. It increases comfort while patients work through the day-to-day challenges of life. Functional training has less impact when it is applied to more specialised training goals including sports and other forms of competition.

Limitations in Sport-Specific Applications

A major critique of functional training based approaches to fitness is when it’s applied to sports-specific training goals. In sports where explosive power is desired to accomplish specific movements, a specialised training regimen targeting these functions will yield greater results. Utilising functional training in this context won’t typically harm the athlete. The time spent on a generalist approach to fitness, however, can represent an opportunity cost that could be better utilised by focusing on the relevant movements. This especially applies to movements where explosive power is optimal for maximum competitive performance.

Functional training routines focus on building strength through the full range of motion as muscle systems are elongated and extended. The requirements of sports performance often require the opposite approach, to produce power while muscles are contracting in a limited range of motion. This lets the athlete apply their power where the mechanical advantage of the body is most optimum and create explosive force. 

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Limitations in Recovery Therapy

Although functional training has proven to be useful to prevent damage and enhance mobility, research studying its benefit to recovery has had mixed results. The study suggests that although pain is usually reduced, recovery time isn’t necessarily shortened. Patients looking to use functional training to reduce their recovery time might be disappointed by the results.

Summary

Functional training is a great form of exercise for anyone looking to enhance their general health and mobility. It’s also useful for people looking to ward off potential injuries to their body caused by the stresses of daily life. If you are always looking for new exercises to work into your schedule, functional training can be a good addition. For athletes with a narrower set of performance goals, you are probably better off sticking to a targeted training program. 

Author: Manny

I am an easy going and sociable adventurer. My main hustle is helping run Australia’s number one community marketplace. I am an inflexible Yogi, functional fitness warrior and beginner boxer. I am huge Wire fan and enjoy watching well written film or TV. Woodwork is my latest passion and dream of having my own workshop or just a small toolshed! Currently listening to my favourite community radio station while making dovetail joints.

The Ultimate Suspension Training System Primer

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Strength training is one of the most important components of any exercise regimen. It is effective in blasting away fat and gaining lean muscle mass. Doing strength training, whether alone or with other forms of exercise like cardio, is the most efficient way to burn calories. This is why strength training is very popular. Suspension training is a strength-training exercise that is challenging, but very effective. In this guide you will learn what this type of training is and why you should include it in your exercise regimen.

Suspension Training A to Z

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What is Suspension Training and what is it good for?

Suspension training is advanced functional training built around a pulley-style system. It consists of straps, ropes, and/or webbing along with your body weight for a full-body workout. The name is a bit misleading--you aren't suspended in the air while exercising. While certain body parts may or may not be raised in the air, you will generally maintain some type of contact with the floor or ground.

Rope training has been around since the early 1800s, but it wasn't put into a "system" until the 1990s. Suspension training was developed by and for Navy Seals. Randy Hetrick, a former Navy Seal, developed the suspension training system and adapted it to every day use in 1997. Navy Seals are some of the toughest soldiers on the planet, so they need exercises that will challenge them at or above their skill level. Suspension training does this--in other words, it's hard. Despite the difficulty level, it is recommended for civilians as well as soldiers who want to get in shape and build lean muscle.

Basic Design

One of the things that makes suspension training very popular is the fact that you can do it anywhere with minimal equipment. Hetrick created a suspension trainer with a jiu jitsu belt and webbing from a parachute. You basically just need your ropes/pulleys etc. and something to suspend it from. This could be a door, a tree, a wall, a fence, or anything sturdy enough to support you that your equipment can be suspended from. You don't need a lot of space, an expensive gym membership, or bulky weights. So you can choose to scavenge some supplies from around your home/office like Hetrick did. Or you can go out and buy specific suspension training equipment.

malewellness_basic suspension trainer

What can suspension training do for you? The general answer is as stated before; burn fat and build lean muscle efficiently. Efficient is a term that can get thrown around a lot so what exactly does that mean? At its core, suspension training is an all-in-one system. It is something that can build strength, flexibility, balance, and stability all at the same time. This is what separates suspension training from other strength training exercises. You get the maximum amount of results in a minimal amount of time. This is what an efficient exercise does for you.

What is a Suspension Training System?

While making a suspension training is very cost efficient, buying a suspension trainer has many advantages. A suspension training system is professionally designed, featuring high quality construction and materials. With this type of system you can be sure that you are using safe and durable quality products. You want equipment that can last throughout your toughest workouts.

There are many types of suspension trainers available. For example the TRX tactical is designed with soldiers in mind. This is the toughest, most rugged suspension trainer available. It can survive any harsh condition that a soldier may be in. Many professional athletes use this premium grade suspension training system as well. 

By contrast, a more basic suspension training system may be more suited for home use. This doesn't mean that the quality is bad, or worse. It means that it may use different material and may be a different size. It is more suited for the average civilian who isn't doing suspension training for professional reasons.

Suspension training systems are more than ropes and pulleys. They can be fitted with a variety of foot loops, handles, or anything else that can make suspension training dynamic. Many of them have features such as antimicrobial material and ergonomic handles. Most also include training manuals, DVDs, or apps that can get you going in the right direction. Designed to handle body weight, torque, and any other stressors that could make a homemade system fall apart. You can worry less about injury with a high quality made suspension training system. If you are serious about functional and strength training, getting a professional system should be at the top of your to-do list.

Is This Type of Exercise Effective?

Suspension training is a very effective exercise when it comes to total body fitness. It is a remarkable discipline that gives you results if you put the work in.

Where suspension training shines is for developing a strong core. All suspension training exercises need you to stabilize your core (abs, lower back, etc.). This allows you to get the maximum impact from gravity resistance. This means that no matter which muscle you are focusing on you are also working out your core. Research shows that suspension training outperforms any other type of exercise when it comes to building core strength. Want a six pack? Suspension training will get you there faster than doing sit ups all day.

Building excellent core strength will benefit all your other exercise efforts. A strong core is needed in just about everything you do because your core is where your power comes from. Having a strong core can also help prevent injuries

Malewellness_strong_core

Martha Purdy, is a physiotherapist and Pilates instructor with Synergy Physiotherapy and Pilates.“It’s important to build core stability first, and then build core strength,” Purdy explains. “You want to get the deeper muscles working first.” Purdy says that when you’ve got a strong core,”everything else will fit into place on top of it,” meaning your overall fitness will improve, making you less prone to injury down the road.

It's safe to say that since suspension training gives you a strong core, it can give you a strong everything. There aren't many total body exercises that can make this claim. Therefore, suspension training is effective for exercising all parts of the body.

Can Suspension Training Build Muscle?

The short answer to this is YES. Suspension training does an excellent job of building muscles in the body. Here is a brief explanation of how participating in suspension training can build your muscles.

The body is full of skeletal muscles. There are around 650 skeletal muscles in the body, all of which can be built up to be stronger. To build muscle, you have to tear it down first. This is done through resistance to gravity. You actually resist gravity every second that you aren't laying down. Daily activity, however, isn't enough to tear muscles down enough to activate hypertrophy. Hypertrophy is the term used for muscle growth. So, what is all this about tearing up your muscles and activating hypertrophy? Better yet, what does this have to do with suspension training? 

Muscle growth

Muscle is built is through exercise, but more specifically through damaging the myofibrils. These are the fibers that make up muscles. After exercising, as you rest, your body repairs these damaged myofibrils by creating new myofibrils. Fused together with the damaged myofibrils it makes new, thicker myofibrils. The best part about this process is that it is never-ending. So you can damage your myofibrils over and over again to create bigger muscles (hypertrophy). For you to tear muscles down, you must have resistance to gravity. Every day activities don't provide you with enough resistance as you've already developed your muscles enough to do them. That is why weight lifting is popular--it provides enough resistance to gravity to tear down muscles.

Suspension training is effective in tearing down muscles because it allows you to use your own body weight. By changing positions, you can make the suspension training more or less challenging. On top of that, not only are your core muscles resisting gravity, but they are supporting the rest of your muscles. This creates even more resistance on your core. This is why suspension training is great for building core muscles, or any muscles for that matter.

Are there some drawbacks in doing Suspension Training?

So far you've read all good news about suspension training. We've sworn by its effectiveness and we stand by it. Despite this, there are some things to be concerned about, as with any exercise or training program that you try. Suspension training is very beneficial, but there are a few drawbacks you may want to consider before diving in. It's only fair that you know the good and the bad, so here are the drawbacks for you to consider.

If you aren't actively engaging your core the entire time, you won't get the full benefits from suspension training. Proper form for any exercise determines how well the exercise will work for you and it also helps to prevent injuries. Suspension training is no different in that you must use the correct form. In this case, the correct form is keeping tension in your core. Without the tension, you may not benefit much from the training which can lead you to think that suspension training doesn't work.

Listen to your body

Since suspension training works out your entire body at one time, recovery can be tough. There is a good chance you will be sore everywhere all at once. This can be hard, especially if you are new to suspension training or new to exercise. It also means you may need extra recovery time until your body gets used to it. So you might not be able to exercise as much as you would like to when you first get started. Remember to always listen your body and make time for recovery.

Suspension training will actually have a limit in building muscle. On the bright side, it will take you a while to get to this limit. But the truth is that suspension training, like any body weight exercise, becomes ineffective once you reach a certain fitness level. This is because to build muscle, you need to keep adding weight. Suspension training is limited to your body weight, so this means you can max out as far as building muscles is concerned. In some cases, this can be alleviated by adding weights to yourself, such as a weight vest or ankle weights, but these are only going to help so much.

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Range of motion

Adjusting the leverage point may cause an injury. A major plus of suspension training is the ability to change the range of motion of many exercises. Changing a movement by only a few degrees can make it a different exercise altogether. If you perform said new exercise in the way that you performed the first exercise, this could lead to an injury.

On top of that, shifting your body by only a few degrees can actually cause more resistance. This may seem like a great idea since more resistance means more tearing of the muscles, which means more muscle growth, but it isn't. To clarify this, let's say you are doing a bench press, for example, and you add ten pounds to each side, you know exactly how much more weight you're adding. You know beforehand whether or not you can handle that much extra weight. However, in the case of shifting by a few degrees during a suspension training exercise, it can lead to an unknown amount of resistance. You could be doing too much too fast which can lead to an injury.

Can exercise Newbies do Suspension Training?

Suspension training is great for people no matter what their fitness level is. It is good for people who are new to exercise because it's so adjustable. It is one of those things where what you put in is what you get out of it. For newbies, they may not have a lot of strength yet so they won't be doing any advanced training. This doesn't mean that suspension training is easy for newbies. But newbies do have a larger learning curve with suspension training than with a lot of other exercises.

Suspension training is a very versatile type of fitness training. Because of its versatility, it is suitable for elderly people as well. It is also good because it's simple to set up and simple to use, newbies don't have to fumble around trying to figure out how to use complicated equipment. Cost-wise, newbies can get into fitness without having to spend a lot of money. 

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Training with no fear

Another newbie benefit is anonymity (if the newbie chooses this). Many newbies can be intimidated by other, strong, more fit people so this deters them from going to the gym and going to work out. Since the suspension training is excellent for home use, newbies can workout from the comfort of their own home, on their own time. They still get an amazing workout without fear of from embarrassment.

There are a couple of concerns for newbies when it comes to suspension training. Some of these concerns were discussed in the drawbacks section. For newbies and elderly people, at the start, suspension training system is going to cause some soreness. This should not discourage them as it is proof that the exercise is effective.

Newbies may also have a problem with learning the correct forms to make suspension training effective. Although this can be remedied with time and practice, it can be discouraging at first when a newbie doesn't see results as fast as they wanted to.

There aren't that many drawbacks for newbies and the drawbacks aren't significant enough to impact the results from suspension training. So in short, yes, exercise newbies can do suspension training. They can do it safely and in any environment that they choose too.

Can this training improve performance in other sports?

Athletes have to perform at a much higher skill level than most people when it comes to physical and mental abilities. According to Very Well Fit to reach their potential in these areas, there are five components of fitness that athletes must develop and suspension training can help with that. 

Cardiovascular Endurance

Cardiovascular endurance refers to how well your body takes in oxygen and distribute it to your cells via your heart and lungs. Not only will this improve an athlete's performance, but it will also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. To improve cardiovascular endurance, you must challenge your cardiovascular system through cardio exercises. Suspension training is full body weight training system. It can provide a lot of cardiovascular benefits because athletes are able to change the speed and intensity of their workout.

Muscular Endurance

Muscular endurance is a muscle's ability to continuously perform under fatigued conditions. Athletes often have to be able to complete entire games, circuits, competitions, etc. without taking a break. In other words, muscular endurance isn't about how many you can do, but rather, how long you can do it. With the suspension training system, one easy way to increase muscular endurance is to speed up your exercises. You can also stop counting reps and simply do an exercise until you are fatigued. Make it a goal to increase the amount of time rather than the number of reps.

malewellness_ Suspension_training_muscle_strength

Muscular Strength

It's already been stated a few times that suspension training helps you improve muscular strength. Athletes need muscular endurance and muscular strength to perform their best in sports. It could be throwing the farthest, hitting the ball the hardest, climbing, swimming, or anything else that athletes do. The more muscular strength they have, the more they can do. Suspension training is great because athletes can work on muscular strength and endurance at the same time.

Flexibility

Flexibility is incredibly important for athletes. One of the most important reasons that athletes need flexibility is to prevent injuries. This is because flexibility improves the range of motion of your joints. Having a good range of motion is incredibly important in all sport. It is even more so in sports like football, rugby, and others that involve a lot of impacts. Suspension training is great for improving flexibility because the straps allow you to stretch your body out in many different ways. They also allow you to add gentle movement to your stretching which can help you be more flexible in specific areas. 

Body Composition

Athletes need a low fat ratio on their bodies. Having too much fat can cause a whole host of health problems including making an athlete sluggish and causing them to not be able to perform well. Athletes gain and improve good body composition when they focus on the other four components of good health. Doing suspension training is great for the other four components, so it is great for improving body composition. 

What other sports and activities compliments suspension training?

Yoga

Yoga is a great fitness and wellness activity that really compliments suspension training. Doing yoga will improve posture and balance, and increase flexibility. Many of the poses can be done using suspension training straps to make them a little more dynamic and challenging. Suspension training will help you build the muscle you need to get better at doing yoga. And yoga will give you the flexibility and balance to increase your range in suspension training. These two types of exercises are a great support for one another. 

Pilates

Pilates is another great compliment to suspension training. In pilates, you use your body weight for resistance like you do in suspension training. Both of these training styles focuses on core strength. Suspension training builds core strength by suspending you in the air while pilates builds core strength while you exercise on the ground. Another similarity is the benefits you get from the equipment in both training types is similar. With pilates, the equipment is bulkier, heavier, and not always accessible, so allow suspension training to pick up the slack. 

malewellness_ Suspension_training_Yoga_pilates

Cardio

Cardio exercise also compliments suspension training well. While suspension training does give you some cardio benefits, it is more focused on building lean muscle. Supplementing your workout routine with cardio exercises can make your suspension training more complete. The additional cardio can help you to burn fat even faster which will, in turn, allow you to build even more lean muscle. 

Can you do Suspension Training when recovering from injury?

Before discussing doing suspension training when rehabbing from injury, it is worth noting that doing it will reduce your risk of injury. Since suspension training is a total body workout, you enhance flexibility and build strength. This decreases your chance of injury when doing other exercise or playing sport. You also have to focus on having the proper form so once you nail that, there is even a smaller chance of injury. According to trxtraining.com, the chance of injury is reduced by:

Lower limb injuries by 39%
Acute knee injuries by 54%
ACL injuries by 88%
Ankle sprain by 50%


Not only is your risk of injury reduced, but suspension training is great to use as a rehab tool for existing injuries. You can adjust suspension training exercises according to your body weight and body placement. This makes it great for exercising injured areas without putting to much pressure on them. In fact, suspension training is regularly used in sports medicine to help injured athletes recover.

Another consideration is that with suspension training, you can exercise specific muscles and parts of your body. This means that you can exercise the uninjured part of your body easily without disturbing or stressing the injured side. Continuing to work out while injured can actually help you heal quicker and better than if you don't work out at all. When doing this, be mindful of how much pain you are feeling. If you are in pain while exercising, this is a clear sign that you should probably stop.

Summary

Suspension training is almost like an all-in-one solution to fitness training. You get to work out every single muscle in your body and you will spend less time in the gym to do it. It's also cost-effective since you don't need a bunch of bulky equipment or a costly gym membership.

Suspension training is a great, functional training system for everyone of all fitness and skill levels. Sure there are a few drawbacks (every exercise has them), but with caution and planning, you can get some of the best results you've ever seen from a training program. You'll build muscle, burn fat, and get into the best shape of your life. Pair suspension training with the proper nutrition and the results could amaze you. When you find the right suspension trainer, you will learn so many great ways to train and benefit from it as so many. people have been since its creation in the late 90s. 

Author: Manny

I am an easy going and sociable adventurer. My main hustle is helping run Australia’s number one community marketplace. I am an inflexible Yogi, functional fitness warrior and beginner boxer. I am huge Wire fan and enjoy watching well written film or TV. Woodwork is my latest passion and dream of having my own workshop or just a small toolshed! Currently listening to my favourite community radio station while making dovetail joints.

Best Suspension Trainers 2018

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The popularity of suspension trainers continues to grow. You will be hard pressed to find a gym not equiped with the versatile training device. Deciding on the best suspension trainers to buy in 2018 is not an easy task. There are many products available now, so a buying guide and product review is what you need to make an informed choice. 

Current Top Suspension Trainers

Suspension Trainer

Best Feature

Warranty

Human Trainer Complete Pro Kit

Most complete suspension training bundle available

2 Years (free)

TRX Home 2

Upgraded webbing and new adjustable foot cradles

5 Years (free)

ComCor Fitness Trainer

"Lay-flat" straps align with your arms as you exercise

Lifetime (free)

Ultimate Body Press

Great for developing arm, back and shoulder strength

30 Days refund

TRX Pro

Premium construction, built to last

5 Years (free)

GoFit Gravity Straps

Lowest priced product currently available

No

Stroops Bodyweight Gym

Unique Slastix-suspension trainer hybrid

1 Year (free)

rip:60 Home Gym

Tons of extras including a 60-Day Nutrition Guide

90 Day (free)

Ultimate Bodyweight Resistance

Heavy duty handles and integrated foot loops

30 Days refund

TRX Tactical Gym

The toughest and most rugged suspension trainer

5 Years (free)

CrossCore180 Rotational

Provides a greater range of motion through rotation 

2 Years (free)

Edge Suspension Trainer

Excellent value for money

2 Years ($7.20)

Introduction

Are you looking for a different way to have an effective workout? One that is inexpensive and easy to maintain? Then you need to check out suspension trainers. They effectively combine flexibility, balance, and strength. Suspension trainers give you a great workout, focusing on core strength. They are portable and lightweight, take them along with you anywhere, so you never have to miss your workout. Here are is some advice and tips on what to look for in the best suspension trainers, followed by some reviews of the best suspension trainers currently available. This detailed guide for best suspension trainers in 2018 will cover the following:

  • What is Suspension training?
  • Benefits of using a suspension trainer
  • How to choose the best suspension trainer for your needs
  • lightbulb-o
    Key features of suspension training equipment
  • lightbulb-o
    Review of Suspension Trainers

What is Suspension training?

Combining the best of body weight and functional exercise, suspension training is one of the biggest exercise trends. It allows for functional weight-bearing movements using your body's weight as resistance. All exercise constantly engage the core throughout the movements. This is a factor normal high-volume weight training often misses. Suspension training builds physical strength through functional movements and dynamic positions. It also develops balance, flexibility, and joint stability simultaneously.

man using suspension trainer outside

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The main element of suspension training equipment is the adjustable straps which are anchored above one's head. This allows for dynamic movement of the body in various functional patterns. Suspension training is effective because you can adjust angles and distance to increase or decrease intensity of all exercises. So it is the type of training that is great for all fitness levels. You can find suspension trainers in most gyms and training studios, but they are also pretty inexpensive to purchase. There versatility means you can use them outdoors, at home, or even in your office.

What are the Benefits of a Suspension Trainer?

Suspension training is a workout system that's popularity has been growing since the early 2000's. It is a body weight supported exercise equipment suitable for all levels of fitness. They have a simple construction  consisting of ropes or straps, handles and an anchor device. Being portable and versatile it is a great type of exercise to add to your workout. Some of it's benefits are the following:

Builds functional strength

Functional strength means your body is capable of doing daily activities without any pain or stress. Due to many of us leading very sedentary lifestyles, functional strength is less prevalent. Our movements are less fluid and we struggle when moving side to side or rotating. Suspension training includes many exercises that move in multiple planes.

Suitable for all levels

You can do many types of exercise with suspensions trainers so it's suitable for everyone. Progression is limitless as you can always find ways to increase intensity. Adjust your body position, arms and legs to add variety to the most common exercises. Suspension training will add so much variety to your training schedule.

Superior core workouts

A strong core is a lot more than having a visible six-pack! The epicenter of your body, a strong core will improve your balance, movement and posture. For an effective workout with a suspension trainer your core should be active all the time. Stabilize with your abs, obliques and lower-back to use your body weight as resistance. Suspension training exercises use functional movements to help you increase your core fitness.

Cardiovascular and Muscular workout

Suspension training provide both an aerobic and anaerobic workout. Aerobic exercise burns fat, improves mood, strengthens the heart and lungs and reduces your risk of diabetes. Anaerobic exercise helps build lean muscle mass. Calories are burned more efficiently in bodies that have more muscle.

Low impact and targeted training

If you are recovering from injury or parts of your body are weaker, suspension training can be very effective. The movements put less pressure on your joints and lessen the risk of re-injury. Suspension training allows you to target your problem areas or work on just one side of your body.

What to look for in a Suspension Trainer

Now that the suspension trainer market has grown it is more difficult to decide what is the best one for you. Many look quite similar so you need to know what features are important in your buying decision. Here are a few things to consider before buying.

Strap Quality

This is the most important consideration and feature. The straps will need to support your body-weight and hold up through regular use. It should be constructed from the highest quality material and have reliable buckles. Plastic or nylon buckles cost less but are more likely to damage quicker. The best straps have commercial grade webbing and buckles made from carbon fibre. Remember to check product specifications to ensure the straps can hold your body weight.

Anchors

There are two types of anchors available for suspension trainers. Single anchor point were recently the most common but the dual mount is proving more popular. The dual mount allows you to adjust the width of the handles and straps. They provide a more natural movement and adds more variety to the types of exercises you can do. The anchor device should connect easily and shouldn't leave any marks or scratches on surfaces.

handles for best suspension trainers

Handles

You will use them while doing all your exercises, so make sure they are the best. They should be comfortable to hold, slip resistant and well defined. The design is also important especially if they include foot cradles. Your feet should be able to access the cradles easily, even when you are wearing footwear. Transitioning from horizontal exercises to vertical ones should be straightforward as well.

Portability

Portability is one of the best features of a suspension trainer. Consider the dimensions and weight of your product and whether there are any restrictions on how and where you can setup. You want something that you can carry around and packs down easily.

Support products

If you are new to suspension training, support material on the product is helpful. Most high quality straps come with a DVD and/or booklet that helps you set up and use your straps right away. Access to Apps are also included in many of the products. They have lots of extra features that adds value to your buy.

Best Suspension Trainers 2018 Reviews

The popularity of suspension trainers continues to grow. The market has become very competitive and the fast paced nature means companies are looking for a USP to stand out. The most established brand is TRX and the quality of their products is renowned, there are a number of factors other high quality alternatives. The below reviews give a flavour of your options and please remember to come back as best suspension trainers reviews will be regularly updated 

ComCor Suspension Gym Fitness Trainer

Pros
  • Excellent value for money
  • Made and manufactured in the USA
  • Foot straps are fully removable
Cons
  • Carabiners may change design based on availability
  • Requires other tools like eye bolts to mount the trainer securely
  • No instructional material supplied

The ComCor Suspension Gym Fitness Trainer is a high-quality body-weight training system. Utilizing their exclusive "lay-flat" straps, this system straps align with your arms as you exercise which lessens chafing. Reaching up to eight feet long, these straps give you the most amounts of exercise possibilities.
The straps are easy to adjust and feature EPDM foam grips that are rated for outdoor use. They are weather durable and also rotate allowing you to do angled work on your triceps. The double strap attachment are excellent for performing body-weight exercises. They do not get in the way of your shoulders like other systems. The ComCor Suspension System also features carabiners that have been tested for over 1,000 pounds. Finally the foot straps are completely removable.

You can build your core, legs, back, and chest quickly with this lightweight and portable system. The device comes fully assembled and ready to use. Finally the competitive price includes a 30 day money back guarantee and lifetime warranty.

Summary - ComCor suspension trainer's simple 2 point connection offers great functionality for movements like push-ups & dips. The straps have rubber reinforcement on the top so you don’t have any issues with it sliding side to side. The simple design of this system is the best feature! It is simple, strong and easy to install or remove.

CrossCore180 Rotational Bodyweight Training System

Pros
  • Rotational movement creates instability and engages the core very effectively
  • Magnetic pin provides lots of versatility in exercises
  • Attaches to any safe anchor point from seven to eleven feet high
Cons
  • Can be difficult to setup, have to tie knots to make adjustments
  • More bulky and heavier than other devices
  • Smoothness of that plastic disc and the nylon rope causes slippage from the groove

This is a unique trainer, which offers rotational movement to your training. This makes it ideal for sport conditioning, rehabilitation, military fitness, and general training. The patented magnetic pin-lock pulleys are it's main USP. They are designed to offer more stable movements than other suspension trainers. Locked in, the trainer is more stable, unlocked it rotates and becomes more challenging.The construction and design of this suspension trainer is similar to the TRX. The design of this trainer allows easy setup with anchors. This suspension trainer attaches to pull-up bars, wood beams, and tree trunks or branches using its adjustable straps. The unit attaches to any space up to eleven feet high. Handle cradles are flexible, open them for leg exercises such as knee raises. Close them firmly on your hands to maintain a more stable grip.
This package includes rotational bodyweight trainer, door anchor, carry bag, basic training dvd and manual. The trainer is compact and weighs only 4 pounds. There is 2 year warranty on the pulley unit and 1 year on all the other elements. 

Summary - Rotational movement is the third plane of motion to bodyweight exercises. An increased range of motion brings more intensity for conditioning, fitness training and rehabilitation. The CrossCore180 is great for working with other forms of resistance devices besides the users bodyweight such as kettlebells, dumbbells and sandbags.

EDGE Suspension Trainer 

Pros
  • Highly recommended for physical therapy and injury rehabilitation
  • Features high quality nylon and metal bands
  • All media is digital, you got the instructions via email as soon as you purchased.
Cons
  • Some users have reported safety issues with the carabiners which manufacturer had to replace
  • Much less support products than most competitors
  • Have to pay extra for product warranty
best suspension trainers EDGE Suspension Trainer

Developed by Dr. Erson Religioso III, the Edge Mobility system is a innovative product line. Their products focus on manual therapy, mobility, fitness, strength, and rehabilitation. The EDGE suspension trainer is great for home exercise and to maximise injury treatment. You can target specific muscles easily, focusing on the ones that need strengthening. It should make physical therapy much easier allowing for progress as a faster rate. It is very easy to setup and easy to use. Exercises can be modified for beginners or made more challenging for the advanced. It is a new to the suspension trainer market but has a lot of potential. The quality of the material and construction is very high and company has excellent customer service. They are responsive to feedback, queries and suggestions, looking for ways to improve products and service.

Summary - The EDGE suspension trainer is great for home exercise and to maximise injury treatment. Developed to focus on manual therapy, mobility, fitness, strength, and rehabilitation. You can target specific muscles easily, focusing on the ones that need strengthening. It makes physical therapy much easier allowing for progress as a faster rate.

GoFit Gravity Straps

Pros
  • Good value for money
  • Can do multi-functional upper and lower body and exercises without much adjustment to straps
  • Easy to remember daily workout as you can leave equipment mounted to your door!
Cons
  • Limited training options due to requirement of doorway to use equipment
  • Solid wooden doors are recommended which are usually exterior doors, limiting door options
  • Handles are made of hard rubber like material which doesn't have the most ergonomic feel

By harnessing your body weight, the GoFit Gravity Straps provides enough resistance for a wide range of full body exercises. Achieve a better lifestyle by increasing your core stability, balance, and building strength. This is an easy to install fitness tool that works in your doorway without the need for hardware. So it is an effective and convenient home workout device. You can easily increase or decrease the workload of the Gravity Straps by changing the angle. When you change the angle, you change your level of resistance by altering the percentage of your body that is being used as resistance. It is also easy to change the starting point on the Gravity Straps as well as the change the foundation by altering your center of gravity.

By using an actual door, the GoFit Gravity Straps helps you achieve your fitness goal through a versatile system using handles and straps. The system includes two handles, two ankle cradles, two door anchors, a travel bag, and a training manual.

Summary - This suspension trainer is a good option if your exercise budget is quite small. Although the reliance on a doorway to train lessens it's portability it still can be a very effective tool. You can do many upper and lower body exercise with it. Either change the angle, foundation or starting point to increase the effectiveness and intensity of your training. 

Human Trainer Complete Pro Kit

Pros
  • The most versatile home fitness equipment available right now
  • Comprehensive package, many anchoring, handles and strap options
  • Outstanding customer service and warranty package
Cons
  • As it includes so much in the package the price is significantly more than any other product
  • For some people the amount of options can be a bit overwhelming

Suspension trainers are versatile training equipment. The Human Trainer Complete Pro Kit takes this versatility to the next level! The package on offer is full of accessories that cover all your training requirements. Multiple anchoring and mount options, abs slings, Olympic Rings, tricep ropes, are just some the extras you receive  Whatever your fitness level is you can have an effective workout anywhere, anytime. All the exercises you do with the Human Trainer engage your core. Expect to see increased flexibility, mobility and stability in very little time. The Human Trainer allows for an unlimited range of exercises through it's patented Dual Anchor suspension system. With dual anchor systems, it is easier to focus on the correct technique and proper form. This is helpful for beginners to develop the stability and core strength needed to progress to advanced level exercises.

The extra stability of the dual anchor suspension has a couple of extra benefits. For a beginner, perfecting form is easier which results in quicker progress. The more advanced user is able to do full body weight exercises, like pull-ups, chin ups and dips. The patented Modular Clipping system makes transitioning from one exercise to the next easier. The multiple accessory attachments you can go from exercise to exercise in seconds. No fussy carabiner adjustments or tangled straps, which means a faster workout and maximum results. Simply grab your handle or any accessory, clip in, and go! 

Summary - This is the complete suspension training package. It really does have every accessory required to do all the exercise one might do on machines at your local gym! The dual anchor suspension helps your hold your form and perfect movements.Use this device if you like an intense circuit workout as it is very easy to flow from one exercise to the next.

Rip:60 Home Gym and Fitness DVDs

Pros
  • Highly suitable for beginners as workout DVD's provide direction and structure 
  • Excellent value for money, the programs help you stay focused and motivated 
  • Very easy to modify workouts to increase intensity of workouts
Cons
  • The handles are a bit too big and bulky making them awkward to use for certain exercises
  • The adjustments buckles slip occassionally which can be frustrating

By using suspended rotation, the rip:60 requires your body to balance and stabilize throughout your workout. This results in the most muscle activation. You will lose weight as well as strengthen muscles, increase endurance, power, and flexibility. It is a home workout system that promises to transform your body in two months. The system includes eight workout DVD’s that provide 60 days of progressive workouts. The first four weeks focus on technique by teaching the right moves to improve your endurance and strength. The second four weeks will help you develop power through maximizing muscle activation.

You will also get a 60-Day Nutrition Guide that includes easy to prepare recipes to fuel your body. The wall chart exercise guide has step-by-step instructions to give you the expertise you need for an effective workout. The rip:60 is capable of handling up to 300 pounds and comes with a nylon travel bag. You can have an intense training session wherever you go.

Summary - This is a complete home workout system designed to get you ripped in 60 days. Coupling 8 workout DVD's with suspension workout straps and 4 bonus DVD's for extra results, this set utilises gravity and bodyweight through a series of progressive movements that at maximum efficiency give you a complete workout and build huge muscle to get you ripped. This is an official RIP:60 product from the company that brings you Weider products.

TRX Home 2 Suspension Trainer

Pros
  • Light, portable and versatile equipment
  • Suitable for all fitness levels
  • Free one- year subscription to the mobile app
Cons
  • Being a single anchor it is great for circuit based workouts but not as effective for building strength
  • Quite expensive compared to other products
best suspension trainers TRX Home 2 System Review

Summary - An all-in-one, total-body workout system you can set up in less than 60 seconds at home or anywhere you go. Get stronger, build muscle, lose weight and improve flexibility fast – no weights required. The beauty of the TRX is the instability of the straps, which challenges your core muscles. It also comes with a year subscription to the TRX App so you can follow workout plans designed by the experts at TRX. For more details check out the full review

TRX Pro Suspension Trainer

Pros
  • Premium construction, built to last
  • Features upgraded handles 
  • Anchoring solutions make it easy to set up anywhere
Cons
  • Quite technical equipment so can cause injury if not used correctly
  • It is pricier than most of its competitors products

Summary - The TRX Pro is a versatile suspension trainer that lets you customise your workout plan according to your fitness goals. It is intended for both beginners and professional fitness devotees. It features upgraded materials like the Microban- treated antimicrobial, textured rubber handles. Buy it from the TRX store and get a free one-year subscription to the TRX app. For more details check out the full review

TRX Tactical Suspension Trainer

Pros
  • The toughest and lightest suspension trainer
  • Easy to clean rubber handles and lightweight D-rings
  • TRX Xtender allows for more anchor points
Cons
  • Alone, it is not ideal for building muscle mass
  • Full package is quite expensive
best suspension trainers TRX Tactical Gym Suspension Trainer Review

Summary - The TRX Tactical Gym is the toughest and most rugged suspension trainer available. If you are dedicated to your fitness regime and want to train in any condition and environment, this is the product for you!  It includes the Ruggedized FORCE Guidebook which is a 12-week progressive TRX Tactical Conditioning Program. For more details check out the full review

Stroops Body-weight Gym

Pros
  • Simple design and durable construction
  • Made in USA craftsmanship
  • Excellent for improving performance in combat sports
Cons
  • The instability of the Slastix takes some time to get comfortable with
  • Has less support material than other products
best suspension trainers Stroops_body_weight_Gym

The Body-weight Gym is a Slastix driven suspension trainer. The built-in Slastix increases your muscular stability by letting you train functional movements in an unstable environment. The Slastix can be removed when you want to train in a more stable environment. The benefits of using slastix over traditional suspension trainer straps is that it creates an instability. This can make the exercise more difficult but also provide support when you are struggling to complete set. You attach the 2 separate straps to the anchor point deciding on how close or wide you want the straps. You can use the Body-weight gym anywhere making it the ultimate on-the-go training tool. Reach your body’s full potential with this Slastix-suspension trainer hybrid.

Effective at developing overall body strength with a relatively simple in design, it's comprised of two heavy-duty nylon anchor straps and two handles. Completely adjustable to fit every athlete, client, exercises or training environment, the Body Weight Gym is everything you want without none of the unnecessary frills. The package includes 2 Stroops Anchor Straps, 2 Stroops Handles, and 2 Stroops Slastix Resistance Cords. There is a 6 month standard warranty on all Stroops products.

Summary - Simple in design, the Body Weight Gym is comprised of two heavy-duty nylon straps with foot/hand loops and two anchors. Training with the Body Weight Gym increases muscle strength and significantly improves coordination, balance and flexibility. The exercise intensity can be individually adapted to the training level by the rope length is set accordingly - the longer the tube, the more intense the exercise.

​​​​Ultimate Body Press Bodyweight Resistance Trainer

Pros
  • Great value for money
  • Handles are very sturdy but also comfortable on hands
  • Excellent laminated full colour exercise guide
Cons
  • Metal hook door stop has not coating and may scratch 
  • Strap adjustments can be difficult as they don't auto even like TRX

Achieve healthy results fast with the Ultimate Body Press Bodyweight Resistance Trainer. You can do metabolic bodyweight training for your upper body and chest, core and even the difficult to target muscles of the lower body. Your body provides all the resistance you need. The two commercial grade independent straps are indexed for fast even adjustments. Quick adjust buckles enable you to tailor resistance for every exercise. Innovative lay flat handles and 'no-rub' cam buckle placement promote form and longer workouts. The integrated foot loops provide extra comfort and security. Exclusive lay flat handles and 'no-rub' cam buckle placement promote form and longer workouts. 

A single point utility strap anchoring lets you workout in any location. The quick-connect 'S' hook anchoring lets you expand your training with movements both toward and away from the body centerline. Expect your workout on this suspension trainer to not only be effective but enjoyable as well. Also includes a comprehensive exercise guide includes 26 movements and 3 sample workouts.

Summary - The Ultimate Body Press Bodyweight Resistance Trainer provides a complete gym experience in less space. Anchor using doorways, pull up bars, rafters, beams, outdoor park structures - even tree limbs. It is a high quality affordable product that looks great and functions beyond expectation.

Ultimate Body Press Joist Mount Pull Up Bar

Pros
  • Excellent for building upper body strength, muscles and definition
  • A fairly sturdy bar that doesn’t have any flex
  • Attaching to bar or after in your house saves floor space 
Cons
  • As you need to mount to a solid base it is not as portable as other suspension trainers
  • Not suitable for lower body or cardio workouts
  • exclamation-circle
    Grips have a tenancy to rotate

If you are looking to expand your workouts, the Ultimate Body Press Joint Mount will help you take it to the next level. A complete home gym, the bundle features workout gear, a dip station, and a pull-up bar. The heavy-duty pull-up bar comes with mounting hardware, parallel grips, and instructions.
You can develop your back, arm, and shoulder strength with this easy to mount bar. The Joist Mount includes grips in three positions. A 42-inch overall width, 21 inch spacing on the parallel grips, and fourteen inches of riser height. These options and spacing means you can easily do chin-ups and pull-ups. Using a bunch of expanded exercises for the upper body, this pull-up bar helps you get fast results.

The Ultimate Body Press Joist Mount is a device that you bolt it to bar or rafter in your house. The advantage is that you can preserve your floor space. Made of thick wall steel, this is the perfect anchor for a gymnastic ring and ab straps. With this type of quality construction, you can focus on repetitions and form. By adding variations and extra body weight, workouts are more challenging and effective.

Summary - Built to last, the Ultimate Body Press Joist Mount is extremely durable. The parallel bars offer multiple grips allowing for more options for chin-ups and pull-ups.  Ultimate Body Fitness also offers a full line of fitness accessories like push-up rings, abdominal straps and gymnastic rings. Though not included, purchasing this additional equipment will greatly increase the number of exercises that you can perform with the Joist Mounted Pull Up Bar.

Conclusion

Suspension trainers popularity continue to grow. They provide the solutions to many of the excuses you may have for not exercising regularly. Gym memberships are expensive with long locked in contracts. Attending can be difficult to fit into your schedule or it's far away from your home. Staying motivated is another challenge and many people lose money is their investment. Suspensions trainers are convenient, great value for money, portable and versatile. No other exercise device offers so much functionality. You can workout all parts of you body at your desired intensity with it. They are compact and lightweight equipment which you can use anytime, anywhere.

Compared to gym memberships, suspension trainers are a fair better fitness investment. The prices of the best suspension trainers reviewed range from $40 to $450, so there is a high quality option whatever your budget. Buy a suspension trainer and you will be able to maintain a consistent training regime. In no time you will build core strength and endurance. You will also improve your agility, balance, flexibility, mobility and stability. So for improved functional fitness and a healthier lifestyle, choose the right suspension trainer for You!

Author: Manny

I am an easy going and sociable adventurer. My main hustle is helping run Australia’s number one community marketplace. I am an inflexible Yogi, functional fitness warrior and beginner boxer. I am huge Wire fan and enjoy watching well written film or TV. Woodwork is my latest passion and dream of having my own workshop or just a small toolshed! Currently listening to my favourite community radio station while making dovetail joints.

TRX RIP Trainer Review

malewellness_Rip_trainer_review

TRX RIP Trainer Review - Reach the Next Level

Anchors

Industrial-strength carabiner

Ease of Use

Simple attachmentmechanism 

Handles

Commercial-grade rubber handles

Pulley System

Resistance cord with nylon cover

Value for money

Hassle-free returns

Pro's

  • Strengthens core through rotational power
  • Very effective for burning calories
  • Portable and simple to attach almost anywhere
  • Personalised sport specific workouts
  • Adds great variety to push and pull exercises
  • 5 year warranty

Con's

  • Requires more space than other suspension trainers
  • Some cheaper alternatives available on the market

Summary: The Rip Trainer is a multi purpose training tool from TRX. Effective for strength and conditioning, it adds intensity and variety to every workout. The multi-faceted approach of this device means it is beneficial for users who are recovering from injury or need rehab. The Rip Trainer is a versatile tool suitable for beginners, elite athletes, fitness enthusiasts alike.

  • Benefits & features
  • product reviews
  • alternatives & final verdict

TRX are now established as the market leader for high quality suspension trainers and related training products. They launched their first suspension trainer in 2005 and since then have been developing and innovating their product line. Due to their success and the always growing health and fitness industry there are know a few alternatives available 

Alternative #1: CoreX RipFit - Functional Fitness Stick Trainer 

The CoreX RipFit is a functional fitness stick with an excellent design that allows for multi purpose functionality. You can use it with either one side or both ends of the RipFit bar attached to resistance band(s). The single attachment mode works your core muscles through asymmetrical force. Exercises are very effective, after a while you will notice even standing strains your core! By attaching both ends of resistance band to the bar, your are set to do more traditional strength training.

The main CoreX RipFit package includes a metal RipFit training bar and 2 CoreX resistance band of 15lbs & 25lbs. You also receive 2 attachment loops, an ankle strap and door anchor. The shoulder carry bag is very practical and makes transporting easy. You also receive a 51 page training and setup guide provides excellent instructions and training ideas. 

Alternative #2: Stroops - Fit Stick and Slastix

Combining the Stroops Fit Stik Pro bar with a Slastix resistance band produces a powerful exercise tool. You have a highly functional device to build core strength and endurance, increase flexibility and power. The Slastix is a durable resistance band, that ranges from 12” to 72" in length. The 36” Slastix is the standard length and provides the most training versatility. You can also have 5 levels of resistance. Very light is 10lbs resistance and very heavy is 30lbs of resistance. The Fit Stik Pro is a 39” functional training bar with professional grade grips. Swivelling eyelets at each end of the bar allows for easy attachment to Slastix (one or both sides at a time). It has great functionality enabling you to do rotational and asymmetrical exercises.

malewellness_fit-stik-pro-slastix

By anchoring to a stationary object or your own feet you now have a lightweight and portable exercise machine. The Fit Stik Pro creates resistance while you engage in exercises and movements that mimic real-world sports.

Final Verdict: TRX RIP Trainer

The TRX Rip Trainer combines an innovative resistance cord and lever bar. It is a device that adds rotational movement to suspension training. This system creates a variable, unbalanced load that promotes core strength and endurance. It encourages movement patterns related to everyday life and sport. This results in increased explosive power, flexibility and mobility. The Rip Trainer is light and portable so you can use it anytime, anywhere. You will love the element of rotation and resistance working together.

The construction of the Rip Trainer is a of a very high standard. It's not just an expensive bungee cord that would wear through quickly. You can be confident it will survive repeated use in tough workout sessions. It is a well designed integrated and rugged unit that will last for a very long time. The Rip Trainer does require more space than other suspension trainers, especially if you are doing HIIT.
Overall, you will be pleasantly surprised how a simple device could deliver such great results. It is also works well as a secondary training tool, offering even more variety to your training regime.

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